Sunday, August 30, 2015

Becoming an "official" Classics Club member!

The Classics Club  is an organization I admire. These folks are voluntarily running a website/group to encourage the reading of "classic literature"! While I don't believe any one list of "classics" to be all-inclusive or to be "must-reads" for every reader out there, I myself, would appreciate a broader exposure to and understanding of classical literary works. 
Because it does increase my comprehension when others reference these works, as well as demonstrating for me the evolution of human culture and society through published works.

Although I have already sneaked in and participated in several Classics Club Spin events, I recently noticed the website had been revamped and is, in my opinion, organized in a much more user-friendly format with regard to membership, etc., than in the past. While exploring this new world, I discovered I was not listed as a member! :(  What?!? :)

It was then that I realized I had overlooked the qualifying criteria for membership and had never submitted an original LONG list of classics I wish to read. Said list must include a minimum of 50 titles and I had listed only 20, so here is my original/expanded listing of classical works I wish to read within the next 5 years, by September 2020. It numbers well over 100 and is just a rambling list including some (at times nonsensical to all others but myself) commentary. I vow to create and post a well-organized commentary-free listing in the near future. :)

Trust me--this is just one small portion of the classics I would like to read! But long will I live?!? ;) An asterisk (*) denotes books I own. 

Free Choice:
Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin*
       I loved Go Tell It on the Mountain and want to read this one! I own it, too! :)
The Philadelphia Negro: A Social Study by W.E.B. Du Bois
      Have always said I wanted to read something he'd written. I admire his 
      accomplishments with regard to the NAACP, etc.
Man's Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frankl
      So many have mentioned that this is a "must-read" book and there are so many    
      references to it. will be my technical Spin read #10
Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
       Uhm... I raised three sons so this should be interesting? ;)
Jo's Boys by Louisa May Alcott
       See above comment regarding Little Men... 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
       The spirit that emanated from this woman was all-encompassing. I was lucky enough to
       see her speak live twice and each time my own soul-spirit literally soared. I had 
       goosebumps. Each person who ever stood in the same room with this woman had to 
       have been spiritually raised to higher levels...and I am not referring to a "religious" 
       experience--her soul definitely vibrated at a higher energy level than most, or at least 
       higher than my own soul at that point in time! 
At Fault by Kate Chopin
The Awakening by Kate Chopin*
       Have never read anything this woman wrote! Yikes! And she was in St. Louis, Missouri! 
       Kinda my 'stompin' ground,' as they say! After reading she is considered a feminist 
       forerunner of the likes of Zelda Fitzgerald, well...I need to read her!

Books I rather dread, but for whatever reason wish to read:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
      I feel as if I really should read this if I haven't yet...
The Hours by Micheal Cunningham*
      I truly know nothing about this one, but so many have recommended it and I have read 
      several references to it lately. Added bonus: picked up a copy in the Half Price Books 
      clearance section for $2!
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair*
      I'm sure this is going to gross me out, but I think we all need to read it...
Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe*
      So many references that I feel I need to have at least read it.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
      Loved The Grapes of Wrath, but have never been attracted to this one, though I feel I 
      should read it. It is referred to so often and by so many!! And is loved by many readers 
      whose opinion I value! 
Watership Down by Richard Adams
      Don't know why I dread just sounds BORING!! ;)
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by Edward Albee
      Can't help it. I read this title and my immediate thought is "Huh?" But I'm brave...
The Frogs by Aristophanes
       Perhaps only so I can say I've read something written by Aristophanes? I have 
       absolutely no idea what to expect other than it is supposedly a comedic play. Oh, and it 
       is short! :)
The Leatherstocking Tales by James Fenimore Cooper
       This consists of 5 different novels: The Deerslayer, The Last of the Mohicans, The 
       Pathfinder, The Pioneers, The Prairie. Although I did read The Last of the Mohicans for 
       a correspondence course almost 20 years ago, I feel as if I got almost nothing out of it 
       except that I do recall it grossed me out in places. However, I feel the need to know this 
       series intimately as someone born and raised in the U.S.
Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad
       Just's by Conrad. It must be informative!
Divine Comedy by Dante
Hell by Dante
       Only because I feel I should read them, even if it may well be a struggle to get through!
The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
       Though I am very interested, I feel this will be BORING! :(
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens 
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens
       Confession: I have NEVER read a Charles Dickens book. Further confession: This 
       stems from the fact my mother felt he was the best writer ever and was always trying to 
       push me to read him. (My mother and I were two very different and basically 
       incompatible people in this lifetime.) Hence, I have done my utmost to avoid the man 
       and his writings. Honestly, at almost 60 years of age I believe it is long past the time 
       when I should drop it and just get on with it--READ HIM!! :) Though I feel it will be 
       depressing to do so. 
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
       Starting reading this about 10 years ago. No go! Perhaps I should create a read-along 
       and include some research in postings to help myself get through it this time? It's a 
       thought... I really would like to do that, but it would have to come AFTER the Laura 
       Ingalls Wilder Read-Along I have planned! :)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
       This is one that even my mother couldn't get through. I will, however, give it a try. :)

Those books about which I am relatively neutral:
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
      Really feel the need to read one of her books! So many bloggers reference her work!
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway*
      Have yet to read one of his novels. (I know, I know...) :)
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier*
      Just keep seeing references to this one all over the place and am definitely curious! 
      And I own a copy now!
Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser
       Loved An American Tragedy when I read it at the age of 15. 
The Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter*
       Fascinated by the concept.
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather
The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather
My Antonia by Willa Cather
One of Ours by Willa Cather
       Yes, there is a theme among the 4 books listed above. I have. NEVER. Read. Anything 
       written by. Willa Cather! Shameful, I know... I will remedy that! 
Animal Farm by George Orwell
       I reread this last year, but want to reread again and fully review. Also will 
       compare/contrast with The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips in the very near 
Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
       Have not read this one and definitely should! 
Meditations on a First Philosophy by Rene Descartes
       I love philosophy. I really should at least give this a try!        

Those I cannot wait to read:
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison*
     Feel I should read it so I can understand the references made to it.
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
     Loved the movie and would like to read the book, which is virtually always better, 
     in my opinion!
The Ways of White Folks by Langston Hughes
     Love Hughes, and want to read what he had to say...
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
     Love his short stories and this will be the first full-length novel of his for me to have 
     read. (The Last Tycoon doesn't count, since it was unfinished.)
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger*
     Yeah, I know. Unbelievable that some English/literature teacher in my past never 
     got to this one, but I am very curious.
The Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery (8 books)
      Okay, I will not "officially" cheat on this master listing, since I just completed reading and
      reviewing this series as part of Reeder Reads' Green Gables Read-Along! But I am 
      listing it as #51 because if you have never read it, you should! Montgomery's writing is 
      nothing less than amazing to me!! Definitely timeless. :) Great for future rereads!
Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin*
      I actually read and reviewed this as my Classics Club Spin #8! Haven't read it yet? You 
      really should... :) Definitely one I would willingly reread in the future. 
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe*
      Can. Not. Wait! I felt drawn to this book and shouldn't delay reading it any longer!!
Freckles by Gene Stratton-Porter
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter
Laddie: A True Blue Story by Gene Stratton-Porter
The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter 
A Daughter of the Land by Gene Stratton-Porter
       Yes, there is a definite theme with the above 5 books! My former mother-in-law 
       ADORED anything written by Gene Stratton-Porter AND the woman lived and wrote 
       about the geographic region close to where I lived as a youngster! And...I was my own 
       naturalist! So many reasons to read this author. And if I like these, I'll probably add the 
       rest of her publications to this list! 
Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
       Another oversight in my reading that needs to be rectified--sooner rather than later!
The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
       I will use the Goodreads listing of 11 books for this series and am planning to launch a
       read-along to start January 2016 on my blog, Smoke & Mirrors--one book per month 
       through November 2016. Why do this? I loved the TV show as a child and have been 
       enthralled by the thought of all these books that I feel I would also love. Time to "just do 
       it"! The list: Little House in the Big WoodsLittle House on the Prairie; Farmer BoyOn 
       the Banks of Plum CreekBy the Shores of Silver LakeThe Long WinterLittle Town 
       on the PrairieThese Happy Golden YearsThe First Four YearsOn the Way Home: 
       The Diary of a Trip from South Dakota to Mansfield, Missouri, in 1894West From 
       Home: Letters of Laura Ingalls Wilder, San Francisco, 1915.
A Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
       I firmly believe every person in the U.S. categorizing themselves as "white"/Caucasian 
       should be required to read books to enlighten them on the various horrors inflicted 
       upon "non-white" folks by the "whites." In my opinion, white man is the worst animal 
       ever to live on this planet, annihilating indigenous human beings and destroying the 
       planet, all in the name of greed, or, as the anglo-centered history books like to phrase 
       it, "progress." (Sorry, stepping down off the soapbox now...)
Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
       I have a whole thick book of Sherlock Holmes stories by Doyle in the olde English. I 
       have owned it for many years and really really really need to read it. Even just one 
       every now and then. I love mysteries and loved the Sherlock Holmes TV series. And just
       learned (Thank you, Wikipedia!) he published 7 historical fiction novels that are 
       considered to be among his best-written publications, so those are now on the list, too!
Micah Clarke by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
The Firm of Girdlestone by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
The White Company by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
The Great Shadow by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
The Refugees  by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
Rodney Stone by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
Uncle Bernac by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
The Tragedy of the Korosko by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Nigel by Sir Ignatius Arthur Conan Doyle
       Confession: I LOVE using Doyle's full name, I mean Sir Arthur Conan Doyle isn't nearly
       as official-sounding, is it! Plus Ignatius makes it sound ANCIENT to me! :)
Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
Mary Ann by Daphne du Maurier
       Historical fiction based upon her great-great-grandmother, mistress of Frederick 
       Augustus, Duke of York and Albany, the "Grand Old Duke of York" of the nursery 
       rhyme, son of King George III and brother of the later King George IV. Fascinating! 

Those I cannot wait to reread:
 A Separate Peace by John Knowles*
      Read this at age 15, loved it, and am anxious to see how I feel about it now, some 
      44 years later! :)
 The Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter 
       First read when I was 13. I loved it then and am anxious to see how it resonates 
       for me now.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
       Actually reread this as Classics Club Spin #7! Love love love this book!!!
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
       Loved it at 12. Wonder how it will read for me now? 
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmyer
       OMG! I absolutely loved this book when I read it at age 20! The characters were living 
       and breathing right alongside me! Definitely one to revisit!
Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekov
       Read it for college and was rather lost. Oh, I aced the exam, but hope I can truly 
       understand it this time around, many many years later! (Sometimes life experience 
       really helps with that!)
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
       Isn't this the one with the rats scene? I hated this book when I first read it at age 14! It 
       scared me. I wonder about now? I want to see...
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
       Haven't read this since I was very young and really, all three families of my 11 
       grandchildren need a copy, too! 
An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
       Read it at 13 and LOVED it! So dramatic! So romantic! So tragic! So sad! Wonder how 
       it will resonate for me now, some almost 47 years later. I am betting much the same. 
       Though I'm sure there are many similarly-themed movies and books, I thought Woody 
       Allen's Match Point (2005) was a well-done similarly-themed movie. Neither of these 
       works is uplifting in the least, but accurate, in my opinion. 

Those I will NEVER reread: (!!!!)
The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
       Read and reviewed for the Classics Club spin #6. Glad I read it. I got her message loud 
       and clear. But could have been written better with many many many less 
       words and much much much less repetition!! In my humble opinion, at least! :)
My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
       No more Jeeves for me! One was enough! Well, almost too much! Just not my cuppa 
The Stranger by Albert Camus
       I read this for the Classics Club Spin #5, just after I'd first discovered The Classics Club! 
       Glad I read it. I got it. No need to revisit. 


  1. Congratulations on joining the Classics Club! I have to admit that since joining, I have strayed a little and don't read classics exclusively. What book are you going to tackle first? Don't feel bad about Dickens. I've only read two books and that was last year.

    1. Thank you!!! Oh, I never intend to commit to reading classics exclusively! Yikes!! :) I'm too enamored by too many newer releases! I am about one-third of the way through Gone With the Wind for the Read-Along that was to be completed in August...but it's okay, I will finish it! That is re-re-re-re-re-reread!! Then it is on to the The Making of Americans by Gertrude Stein--a real chunkster! After that it will be the Man's Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. See my spin #10 post at Thank you for letting me know I am not alone in my lack of reading Dickens!

  2. Welcome to the club! I have to admit, I did find The Origin of Species boring : )

    1. I called that one correctly, eh? :) I feel like I need a challenge like that at times--it tends to make me appreciate the books that interest me even more! :)